North East Wales

Gun collector's five years jail for loaded revolvers

A gun collector has been jailed for five years after police found two antique revolvers at his flat.

Michael James Lowens, 44, was found with one loaded gun on his sofa and another in pieces. Ammunition was also discovered.

Lowens in Mold, Flintshire, admitted possessing prohibited weapons and ammunition without authority.

Judge Rhys Rowlands said at Mold Crown Court that the sentence would act as a deterrent to others.

Lowens, described as a doctor of chemistry, was said to be obsessed with weapons and would buy and sell antique weapons over the internet.

Investigations found that over a 12-month period he had also ordered 750 different types of bullet and 675 different types of cartridge over the internet.

When police searched his flat above a shop on 1 March they found a collection of weapons, the court was told.

These included a Bulldog revolver, in working order, and the components for a Belgian .44 revolver which, when assembled, produced a working firearm.

Both 100-year-old revolvers were successfully test fired, the court heard.

Judge Rowlands said he could find no reason to depart from the statutory maximum sentence for such a case.

With regard to the lack of security at Lowens's flat, he said: "There was a real risk, if not every prospect, that they would find their way into the hands of criminals."

'Bona fide collector'

The judge added that Lowens had previously been cleared of illegally possessing weapons when a jury accepted that they were simply antiques or ornaments.

Jonathan Duffy, defending, said his client was a bona fide collector of antique weapons.

There was no suggestion that he had the weapons for any sinister reason, he added.

Police searching Lowens's flat also found indecent images of children on his computer, the court heard.

In September local magistrates placed him on the sex offender register for five years and sent him on a sex offender's course after he admitted downloading indecent images of children, some as young as 12.